Hiking report

Hiking around Kamakura

And here comes the highlight of my short stay in Japan: hiking in Kamakura. This is actually quite close to where I was born. Nonetheless, I have never thoroughly hiked in this area, although this is often what happens to local people.

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Since my parents still live nearby, I didn’t choose a location inside the city center of Tokyo as the starting point. Even though I still organised it on Couchsurfing, I guess it must have been quite confusing to people who were staying in the city center there, since depending on where you live in Tokyo, you have to take a completely different train. Well, not only the itinerary is different, but it could be an entirely different railway company. It’s hard to believe that in such a modern country like Japan this is still omnipresent.

Anyway, I decided to be in Hase, where today’s hike started, early enough, to make sure that I arrive there in time. I was there one hour in advance, despite all the delays I have whenever I go hiking around Düsseldorf. There was a nice café right behind the train stop, which was not registered on Open street map, so I registered it on the spot. Maybe I should say that I started editing Open street map since the beginning of this stay in Japan this time, because OSM is hopelessly unknown here, although I think it has great potential.

Even though the WhatsApp group had nearly no activity, many of the participants indeed came. Usually I don’t wait for the ones that arrive late, but this time I decided to do it relaxed. After all I’m on vacation myself, why should I hurry.

Crossing the city of Kamakura itself was a huge task: it was visibly overcrowded with tourists. Whatever we were doing, I was very happy that we didn’t have to spend more time with them.

But then as soon as we left the area surrounding the Buddha, there was no one anymore. Really literally no one. We’re living in the 21st century, and you can find virtually everything in the internet. Nevertheless, people do classical tourism. Hard to understand how it’s still possible.

When we started climbing up a hill, there were signs saying all the hiking trails in Kamakura were closed. We simply continued and more signs appeared. Well, here in Japan, they might tell you not to do certain things, they keep getting more and more quiet, until they become entirely silent. Out of politeness I usually don’t do so, but this time, also in order to satisfy our curiosity, we simply continued. And as expected, there was nothing really preventing us from crossing that area after some points, and then we indeed understood why they shut down the area, but it still made sense for us to go further, because it was in the end possible to go the trail I planned, but then also because it was a nice adventure in the end.

Just as the trail in Kanazawabunko, we were right next to the civilisation, but then again we were in the middle of wilderness. This is how things work in Japan, and it’s really super fun. We were anyway too busy watching out all the time as the trail was fairly rough today, just as I’ve seen everywhere in Japan.

The number of forbidden sections was impressive today. Now I understand that it nearly made sense to shut down the entire area, though there was nowhere it was entirely impossible to cross. We were playing real time Indiana Jones today.

In contrast to my initial expectations, there was nowhere to have a break on the way, so we didn’t have a proper break. From some point it could be clearly seen that some of us were quite exhausted. Even though there was no proper place, I guess you should still have a break since the trail is certainly not very easy.

It was horrible to walk around Kamakura afterwards with the herd of tourists. We went to a nearby café, which looked like it came from the middle of the 20th century.

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